Flame burns brightly as Shameless star revels in new role

TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

It’s amazing – if not downright embarrassing – to admit the lengths one will go to in order to get a last desperate fix of Shameless.

Because life on the goggle box isn’t the same since Channel 4’s peerless series set in the fictitious Manchester estate of Chatsworth wound up for good last year.

So when a little known channel – in our house at least – called TLC announced that it was doing a special on Tina Malone, the brassy monkey who played Mimi McGuire, it seemed like one way of satisfying a craving.

Oh boy, was that a mistake.

In fairness the title should have been enough – Tina Malone: Pregnant at 50. It was never going to be a comedy.

Instead we saw parts of Tina/Mimi that even Shameless wouldn’t show – and God knows there was very little off limits.

For those who missed out on Shameless – and that means you’re in the lucky position of now being able to enjoy it all for the first time as a box set – Mimi McGuire was a feisty, foul mouthed drug dealer on a local authority estate that would make prison seem like the Poor Clare’s.

And because Tina herself is now something of a staple on the North of England celebrity circuit – afternoon chat shows, OK magazine and the red carpet when real stars are under a cloud – we also know that she’s quite a handful in real life too.

So the story to this TLC special was simple – Tina married 31 year old ‘toy boy’ Paul in recent times and now she was, indeed, pregnant at the age of fifty.

So, as is the style these days, she allowed cameras to have access to all areas – and by all areas, we mean all areas – as she dealt with just about every ailment God and nature could throw at her before she gave birth by caesarean section at 35 weeks.

She was already at the upper end for new motherhood – Danielle, her 32 daughter from her teenage years would have been more of the traditional birth-giving age – so this was never going to be a walk in the park.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.